02/23/2008 12:22 PM ET
Rays unveil 2008 TV schedule
57 games available in HD; coverage expands in Jacksonville
ST. PETERSBURG, FL-A total of 144 regular season Tampa Bay Rays games will be televised regionally in 2008. The Rays TV Network and ION Television will televise 67 games, including 20 home games in 720p High Definition (HD), while FSN Florida will broadcast 75 games, 37 of which are available in HD. Two additional games between the Rays and Florida Marlins will be seen in the Tampa-St. Petersburg area on Sun Sports as part of the Marlins' regional TV schedule.
This season Jacksonville WPXC-TV 21 joins Tampa WXPX-TV 66 and Orlando WOPX-TV 56 in carrying all 67 games televised by the Rays TV Network. The coverage in Jacksonville represents an increase of 42 games from 2007. The Rays TV Network also consists of affiliates in Gainesville-Ocala, Tallahassee, Pensacola and Panama City, each carrying a portion of the 67-game slate.
The 57 games produced in HD is a club all-time high. Twenty HD games on the Rays TV Network represent an increase from six last season. The 142 regular season games televised on the Rays TV Network and FSN Florida equals the club all-time high. FSN Florida will also televise two spring training games: March 16 vs. Detroit, and March 28 vs. Cincinnati, the final game ever held at Progress Energy Park, home of Al Lang Field.
The Rays TV Network will broadcast the season opener March 31 at Baltimore and the April 8 home opener vs. Seattle. The home opener will also be the first of 20 games on the Rays TV Network telecast in 720p High Definition.
All 36 games against the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox will be televised. The entire three-game series vs. the Toronto Blue Jays, held at Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., will air April 22-24.
Calling the action for Rays games for the 11th consecutive season is the broadcasting tandem of Dewayne Staats and Joe Magrane. Working together since the Rays inaugural 1998 season, Staats and Magrane have been the club's only television announcers. Staats, a 32-year veteran of television and radio, will again handle the play-by-play duties. Magrane, who played in the major leagues for 10 years, returns as color analyst.
FSN Florida's television series "Inside the Rays," hosted by Todd Kalas, returns this year with nine all-new episodes. Kalas, entering his 11th season with the Rays and 15th in the major leagues, will serve as the pregame host and in-game reporter for all telecasts. The "Tampa Bay Rays Preseason Special" premieres March 17, and special features are included in the "Rays on Deck" pregame shows prior to each telecast.
ION Media Networks owns and operates the nation's largest television group, and ION Television, reaching over 90,000,000 homes. ION Television, which currently features popular series and movies, has a strong presence throughout Florida, including stations in Orlando (WOPX-TV 56), Jacksonville (WPXC-TV 21) and Tampa (WXPX-TV 66).